|Sport:||Football / Soccer|
|Role:||Head Coach of the Swedish Women's Football Team|
Pia Mariane Sundhage?(Swedish pronunciation:?[?pi??a ?s?nd?h????]; born 13 February 1960) is a Swedish former professionalfootball player?who played most of her career as a?forward, but had stints as a?midfielder?as well as a?sweeper. Sundhage was the?head coach?of the?United States women’s national team?from 2008 to 2012; during which her team?won?two?Olympic?gold medals and finished second at the?World Cup. Sundhage was the 2012?FIFA World Coach of the Year. She became head coach of the?Sweden women’s national football team?on 1 December 2012. Sundhage can be seen in the?Sveriges Televisiondocumentary television series?The Other Sport?from 2013.
Sundhage started with?IFK Ulricehamn?as a youth player and eventually moved to?Falk?pings KIK?in 1978. She then joined?Jitex BK?from 1979 to 1981. Sundhage played 1982 to 1983 with??sters IF, scoring 30 times in her first season with the club and chipping in 35 more in her second season. 1984 saw a move back to Jitex BK, while 1985 saw Sundhage split time betweenStattena IF,?S.S. Lazio?(where she scored 17 times), and Jitex BK. She played the 1986 season with?Hammarby IF DFF, before she moved back to Jitex BK from 1979 through 1989. Sundhage finished her career with Hammarby IF DFF, playing from 1990 until she retired in 1996.
She won four?Damallsvenskan?championships, all with Jitex BK, as well as two additional?Svenska Cupen?with the club. She also won two Svenska Cupen with Hammarby IF DFF.
Sundhage made her first appearance for the?Swedish National Team?as a 15-year-old in 1975, eventually amassing 146 caps and scoring 71 goals for her country. Her 71 goals gave her joint-lead with?Lena Videkull?for the most in the Swedish National Team history, a record which has since been surpassed by?Hanna Ljungberg.
She participated for Sweden in the?1991?(a third place finish) and?1995?editions of the?FIFA Women’s World Cup?and the?1996 Summer Olympics. She won the?1984 UEFA Women’s Championship. Her image appeared on a Swedish postage stamp in 1988.?In 1989 Sundhage scored the first goal in a women’s match at?Wembley Stadium, as Sweden beat?England?2?0 in a curtain?raiser for the?Rous Cup.
In 2000, Sundhage finished sixth in the voting for?FIFA?Women’s Player of the Century.
Sundhage got her start in coaching as a?player/manager?when she was with?Hammarby IF DFF?from 1992 to 1994. She then took assistants jobs with?Vallentuna BK?(1998 to 1999) and?AIK Fotboll Dam?(2000) before moving across the?Atlantic Ocean?to become an assistant with?Philadelphia Charge?of the new?Women’s United Soccer Association?in the?United States. She eventually was hired on by?Boston Breakers?as the head coach, winning the league title and being named the 2003 WUSA Coach of the Year in the process. Once the WUSA folded however, it was back to?Scandinavia?to take on further coaching positions.
Her relationship with the Boston Breakers led?United States Women’s National Team?captain?Kristine Lilly?and fellow USWNT player?Kate Markgraf?joining her in the SwedishDamallsvenskan?when Pia coached?KIF ?rebro DFF?from 2005 to 2006, after a brief stint with?Kolbotn IL?in 2004. Lilly said she “wanted to play for Pia again.”
Sundhage served as an assistant to?Marika Domanski-Lyfors?for the?China Women’s National Team?during the?2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Pia Sundhage was announced as the?United States Women’s National Team?head coach on 13 November 2007. She became the seventh head coach in the U.S. team’s history and the third woman. Lauren Gregg was in charge for 3 games in 2000,?April Heinrichs?led the squad from 2000?2004 and won the?2004 Summer Olympics, while Sundhage served as a scout for the United States during the 2004 Olympics.
United States women’s national team at the 2012 Summer Olympics
While at the helm of the United States, Sundhage has won the?2008 Algarve Cup?and Gold medals at both the?2008 Summer Olympicsand the?2012 Summer Olympics. She was on the verge of winning the?2009 Algarve Cup, but the United States lost out to Sundhage’s native?Sweden?on penalties. However, she did win the?2010 Algarve Cup?a year later, defeating World and European ChampionsGermany?3-2 in the final.
She coached the Women’s team to the final of the?2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, where the team advanced to the final for the first time since 1999. However, they were upset by?Japan, losing 3-1 on penalty kicks. A year later, Sundhage coached the USWNT to another gold medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, defeating Japan 2-1 in a Women’s World Cup final rematch, with?Carli Lloyd?scoring both goals.
On 1 September 2012, Sundhage announced she was stepping down as the U.S Women’s head coach having expressed a desire to seek opportunities in her native Sweden. Sundhage announced she would coach the U.S. team’s games on 16 and 19 September on the team’s Olympic victory tour before officially resigning. “I have days where I think, ‘What am I doing?’ and there are other days where I’m like, ‘I’m all up for this next challenge'” Sundhage said upon announcing her departing the US women’s national team.?She coached her last game against?Australia?as part the team’s Olympic victory tour on 19 September, defeating them 6-2. With this final win Sundhage was able to leave the team with a 91-6-10(Win-Loss-Tie) record that included two Olympic Gold medals and a second-place finish at the 2011 FIFA Women?s World Cup.
The?Swedish Football Association?announced early 2 September 2012 that Sundhage signed a four-year contract that starts on 1 December. The announcement came hours after Sundhage’s match as coach of the U.S. women’s team, an 8-0 win in a friendly match against?Costa Rica; the first of a series organized to celebrate the winning of gold medal at the?2012 London Olympics. Sundhage replaced?Thomas Dennerby, who resigned after Sweden failed to reach the semifinals in 2012 Olympics. “I have long dreamed of becoming Sweden coach and now I am so happy” Sundhage said.First major tournament for Sundhage as coach of?Sweden team, was the?2013 European championshipwhich Sweden hosted; Sweden lost 0-1 in the semi-final to Germany, which won the championship.
In January 2010, Sundhage mentioned in a Swedish TV interview that as a?lesbian?she has not felt any?homophobia?as a coach. “There has been no problem for me to be openly gay as head coach in the U.S.,” said Sundhage.